…is the name of my great-grandfather’s book (that I mentioned in Wild Garlic). He also wrote a couple of others under the pseudonym of Jason Hill: ‘Herbs, Salads and Seasonings’ in collaboration with Marcel Boulestin, a French restauranteur in London and inspiration to Elizabeth David; and ‘The Curious Gardener,’ with wonderful pen and ink drawings by John Nash.
He seems to have been quite a character. In cahoots with a whirl of interesting and artistic people, he was a black-suited, umbrella-furled psychiatrist who commuted to London during the week, but spent the weekends in a pair of bright blue Spanish trousers, his bohemian side an intense embarrassment to Granny and her sisters. When he was in charge on the straight-laced nanny’s day off, he would have his four daughters dress in light Japanese yukatta, sit on the floor and eat lychees, a rarity he must have found in the city. I have a shirt of his, embroidered in red and blue with a collar, supposedly a Russian refugee stitched it by hand and gave it to him in thanks. For what, I don’t know.
There are a lot of gaps to fill in… And although I am not at all attracted by gardening, I find myself reading anyway for his elegant turn of phrase. While I do some more research, dig out some lentils from the cupboard and wish I had some herbs, salads or seasonings in the fridge, here is a picture with his eldest daughter, my granny. Isn’t he handsome?